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War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing. …

 War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

it ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind. …

  • Edwin Starr

This is the same game plan I’ve seen over and again the past five decades – only it’s “yet again” – and I can’t believe it’s still happening.

Friends, there’s a well-rehearsed, narrow script that’s almost always followed, always leading to war. Those with clear memories of Vietnam, Grenada, Libya, Iraq I, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq II, Pakistan and ISIL know well the drill of our military-industrialized nation.

This well-worn routine begins with the demonization of some otherwise unknown enemy – for real or for convenience. Then comes the mesmerizing adulation of the power and sophistication of our weapons.

Most currently, we have suspected chemical attacks leading to the death of 90 – resulting in 60 salvos of cruise missiles fired from U.S. ships.

Various news sources lovingly described the attack as “beautiful,” and the world gazed with wondrous eyes at the power and accuracy of our destructive power.

This adoring coverage brings to mind a young Wolf Blitzer reporting live, from Baghdad, on the terrifying yet awesome power of our then new and completely impressive cruise missiles descending on Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

We loved our high-tech weapons as we watched them literally fly through windows of buildings from hundreds of miles away. There was no better advertisement for war. We were on the grass at the 50-yard line.

Back then, a witty rock group, Oingo Boingo, penned an insightful lyric, “Our bombs are smart, but our kids are dumb.” And maybe they were right.

We buy into this war rallying every time. And every time, we’re suckered into thinking we’re more righteous, our violence is justified, our enemies evil, and our success absolutely assured – over, and over and over again.

Yet while the outcomes haven’t been so good in the last 30 years, our memories are short – and we again buy into that same old game plan for war – once more.

It might be noted that the greater part of Europe has remained mostly peaceable since WWII. They got to live the mayhem firsthand during WWI and WWII. They got to suffer the blood and gore firsthand on their lands, families, their limbs and their hands.

Blood literally splattered on their buildings, streets, faces. And since then, that continental group has largely avoided dipping into war again.

Not so with today’s politicians. War is an abstraction to them. War is distant to them. War is just a remote calculation. War is business. War is not pain.

War is not their kid’s death or dismemberment or starvation. War is politics, and it’s someone else’s pain. Someone we don’t remotely relate to, far, far away.

Plain and simple.

Because we’ve not been invaded or conquered, with towns and cities and limbs and generations blown away in our sight, every day.

Because we’ve not seen our buddy’s brains blown over us on some remote beach. Because “war” to us today is just “the mother of all bombs,” proudly on display – with MOAB printed oh so obviously on the shiny bomb’s torso for maximum PR impact on both friend and foe.

Because war is just another transaction of bombs blown up on impersonal enemies, on impersonal faces with cries not seen, screams not heard – all conducted thousands of miles away.

War for our politicians and for most Americans is no pain, no splatter, no screaming, no sobbing, no cries buried under rubble, no stench, no inhumanity. And ultimately, also no gain.

Still, we have a new national pride of having dreamt up, and built, the “mother of all bombs.” The pride of the “beauty” of launching 60 cruise missiles from remote destroyers onto a Syrian airstrip suspected of having launched a reprehensible chemical attack. First, the demonization as rationalization, then the war.

War is hell, those who’ve really experienced it generally say. Meanwhile, guys who’ve had one, two, three, four, and five deferments from the draft, like our current “Commander in Chief” Trump, are pulling America’s levers, inching us toward our next wars.

Those with poor memories or no memories are damned to repeat the same mistakes.

So here comes the technology worship. Here comes the demonizing and the fear.

Next some flag-waving, some patriotic cheer-leading, and after sufficient homeland psych-ops conditioning, then comes our brand new, newly hatched war. “We’d better act now and kill them there or we might just be victims ourselves. …”

So now it’s Syria. Or North Korea. Or any of a whole host of minor Middle East targets. We might even get into the Baltics. Pick your new target. We’ve again set the scene with the required prelude.

Enter in, our next war. Enter in, the next expenditure of $1 trillion American that could have been used for improving our own country.

Enter in the next loss of hundreds of thousands of foreigners’ lives. Enter in the next utter waste.

War. What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.

Remember that.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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  • Brian Baker

    Goooood grief….

    Gary, what have you been doing? Channeling Woodstock? You’re regurgitating Vietnam-era clichés as if they’re something new, and they’re not. I remember them well, because that was the war I fought in.

    Here’s a line from another song of that era: “Don’t Bogart that joint, my friend…”. I have to wonder if you’ve been hitting some of that whacky tobaccy.

    NO ONE wants war. That’s a fact, Jack. But sometimes, war will find YOU, even if you don’t want it to. Remember 9/11 and the Twin Towers? Ever hear of Neville Chamberlain?

    And guess what the best way is to avoid getting into wars. It’s to be so fearsome that nobody wants to mess with you. It’s called “peace through deterrence”.

    We’ve had eight long years of pussyfooting around, “leading from behind”, and all the rest of the pacifist nonsense you’re advocating, and just look at how well THAT’S worked out. The world’s in a worse mess than it’s been in decades.

    And while I’m talking about your ObaMessiah, I notice that while you criticize Trump for not having served, I can’t recall you ever saying a peep about Obozo’s lack of military experience. In fact, I can’t recall you ever mentioning HIS few actual military excursions in any negative light, either. His buildup in Afghanistan, for example. I guess that was okay because Nobel Peace Prize blah blah.

    Bud, your hypocrisy’s showing. You might want to fix that.

  • Gil Mertz

    CNN’s Fareed Zakaria: Were Obama Still President, He Would Have Ordered “Similar If Not Identical” Strike In Syria

    Gary, would do you have to say to your fellow Obama worshipper?

    • lois eisenberg

      “Goooood Grief”
      Another post that is petty and inane when confronted with the truth !!

  • lois eisenberg

    Gary Horton BRAVO,BRAVO,BRAVO !!

  • lois eisenberg

    White House flubs warship report should be a cry for help that we are being led
    by the most incompetent administration in history.

  • Ron Bischof

    “It might be noted that the greater part of Europe has remained mostly peaceable since WWII.”

    That’s due to protection by the USA and NATO we formed to protect Europe. How well do you think Western Europe would have fared alone facing the Russian Soviet Bear, Gary?

    Military actions and war aren’t glamorous or desirable but have occurred throughout human history, for noble or ill purposes. The 59 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles used were a limited strike in response to violation of the international ban on chemical weapons in place since the end of WWI and the agreement that Syria signed to dispose of their chemical weapons.

    Going back to the UN again would have been ineffectual as Russia would exercise a Security Council veto. That’s the realpolitik assessment, whether you accept it or not.

    Reestablishing credible deterrence against international bad actors will be very challenging and entail risks after the hubris and “Leading from behind” ineptitude of the Obama Administration.

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.”

    ― John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy

    • charles maurice detallyrand

      Wasn’t it you who was stating something recently about enumerated powers in the Constitution and a limited federal government? So the use of unilateral military force by the president is something expressly permitted, an enumerated power, in the Constitution? Good to know….

      • Ron Bischof

        Nothing that I’ve written in this comment or on enumerated powers elsewhere suggests avoiding Constitutional or other Congressional notification statutes. If you are under the illusion that I have, prove it with a verifiable quote of mine or cease your amateur debate tactics.

        Therefore, your attempted appeal to hypocrisy fails, person who posts under the nom de plume of a deceased European statesman.

    • Brian Baker

      Absolutely right, Ron.

      The only reason Europe even exists as it does today is because we had our armor divisions stationed there, in Germany, from the end of WW2 into the ’70s. If not for that, Soviet armor would have poured through the Fulda Gap like **** through a goose and overrun Europe.

      It’s our 7th Fleet that ensured the survival of Taiwan as an independent country. It’s our navy that keeps shipping traffic moving through the Hormuz Straight. Our navy suppresses piracy off the Horn of Africa.

      Does anyone seriously think that there’s anything keeping that fat kid wannabe-Stalin in North Korea from invading the south OTHER than his fear of us?

      Get real.

      • Ron Bischof

        Indeed. I find this amateur grade “guns or butter” nonsense from “Progressives” ignorant of history and geopolitics.

        As a Vietnam Vet, you know from personal experience the radicals were wrong then and as seniors they remain stubbornly wedded to fiction. Furthermore, your experience in military intelligence provides additional insight on how insidious propaganda is in effect.

  • lois eisenberg

    “Fox News has dropped Bill O’Reilly, its biggest star, after numerous sexual harassment cases cost advertising and spurred protests”
    Yeah one more war monger down the tubes !!

    • Phil Ellis

      Another petty and inane post that has nothing to do with the topic.

      • Ron Bischof

        Same as it ever was
        Same as it ever was
        Same as it ever was
        Same as it ever was
        Same as it ever was
        Same as it ever was
        Same as it ever was
        Same as it ever was

        ― Once In A Lifetime, Talking Heads

      • lois eisenberg

        “Another petty and inane post that has nothing to do with the topic.”
        Your finally catching on !!

  • lois eisenberg

    Fox News has dropped Bill O’Reilly, and will be replacing him with the “outrageously
    racist and sexist Tucker Carlson”
    “When you work for Fox there are no moral turpitude clauses.”

  • lois eisenberg

    Years of sexual harassment and bullying by O’Reilly has caught up him just as
    sexual harassment , bullying and incompetence in governing etc.etc.etc. will catch up
    with the liar-in-chief !!

  • lois eisenberg

    “Trump is a laughingstock in So. Korea over the USS Carl Vinson Blunder”
    What about the rest of the world?
    “How does the US expect South Koreans to trust the US when its leader bluffs and exaggerates? BINGO !!

  • lois eisenberg

    “Trump says that no president has accomplished more in his first 90 days than Trump has.”

    “Trump actually is unusual for his first 100 days, but for a reason opposite of what he said. Not only has he accomplished almost nothing, but rather his initiatives (executive orders stayed by courts, a major legislative proposal failing even to come to a vote when his party controls both houses, etc.) have notoriously been unsuccessful.”

    “Don’t worry, Mr. President, you are breaking new historical ground.”

  • Brian Baker

    You didn’t actually respond to a single point I made. You wandered off in irrelevant tangents.

    • gary


      I don’t need to respond to your points: I’m writing from an almost spiritual sense; a higher path; something like “The Force Is Strong…” but for writing op/eds.

    • Brian Baker


      Then don’t bother posting it as a “reply” to what I’ve written. You’re wasting my time with your “spiritual” garbage.

      • gary

        I love you, bro.

        • Brian Baker


          Back atcha.

  • Ron Bischof

    As I had referenced before, your thought process is very reflective of the Vietnam Era, even to the extent of repeating the trope that N. Vietnam “won the war”, Gary.

    However, I don’t think you’ve captured the realpolitik at all on N. Korea.

    I’m not a military planner, but I expect the calculus is this:

    • Assemble a credible strike force posture of USA, ROK and Japanese assets.
    • Norks and China note same with satellites and other reconnaissance assets.
    • China delivers nuclear disarmament/missile ultimatum to Kim Jong-un via back channels.
    • Nork regime complies or China decapitates and supports military coup to maintain buffer state in N. Korea.

    How do you like my plan?

    By the way, the Chinese seem to be getting the message.

    China criticizes North Korea, praises US on nuclear issue

    Cool, eh?

    • gary

      Cool, until the crazy little bugger actually fires off the 15,000 artillery pieces at Seoul and 2 million people die. Herein is the problem. But boy, if it would work I would be all in there with you.

      • Ron Bischof

        Your expression of inevitability doesn’t square with the history of tyrants generally not being suicidal, Gary. Instead, they’re preoccupied with maintaining power and ruthlessly suppressing any internal threats to it.

        What do you think chubby’s chances of survival are if he unleashes an artillery strike on Seoul? Do you actually believe he envisions himself as a martyr to the “glorious revolution”?

        Therefore, I don’t subscribe to your theory and posit the scenario I outline as a more likely outcome.

        China’s economy is far more important to the Party than which despot is propped up in Pyongyang.

        We’ve made our points. Let’s observe who is more accurate as events unfold.

  • lois eisenberg

    ” Seen at the White House this week: Sarah Palin, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent.”
    The liar-in-chief can add this sick act to his 100 days of no accomplishments !!